Parents' Guide to

The Gospel of Winter

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Powerful book about victims of priest sexual abuse.

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THE GOSPEL OF WINTER sensitively examines a painful subject without overwhelming readers in descriptive details. Through Aiden's well-told story, which unfolds over the course of an icy winter, the author convincingly conveys the complex feelings going on inside the protagonist and many other confused characters from his wealthy Catholic community. Readers may not always agree with Aiden's choices, but they'll understand his feelings of shame at what's happened to him and why he wants to pretend the abuse never happened; readers also will begin to understand why so many people might have been willing to participate in a cover-up, even people who loved the victims. This is a difficult story but an important one; not only can it help remove the stigma and secrecy that often surround sexual abuse, but it can help teens consider a more universal theme of, "Are you the kind of person who's there for people when they need you, or are you not?"

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